“Rebound” a novel by Michael Goodell
I just finished reading a new detective story novel Rebound by my former neighbor Michael Goodell who now spends most of his time in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, or at the family vineyard in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I still count him as one of the Tucson authors you should read.
For most of my life I’ve been addicted to this genre of fiction. My mother and my schoolteacher aunts, whose real jobs were entertaining me during the summer, must have had the same disease because about the time of World War II I discovered a shelf in our library with books by Agatha Christie, A Conan Doyle, Raymond Chandler, Dashiel Hammett, and S. S. Van Dine (pseudonym for Willard Huntington Wright) who became my favorite because his detective, Philo Vance, lived in New York City and spent his summers on the Mediterranean or in the Middle East pursuing his archeological interests. After reading a couple of Van Dine’s books I was ready to sign on as his unpaid boy-Friday. My parents said I could go if he’d take me on, a way of getting rid of me during the summer so they could spend more time with my new brother. But that’s a separate story I’ve told you in an earlier blog.
Back to Rebound. I should warn you it’s difficult to put down once started. The descriptions of the geographical sites where good detective stories take place are a necessity for me: London and environs for Christie and Doyle, Los Angeles and environs for Chandler, San Francisco for Hammett, and New York for Van Dine. For those of us who don’t know Detroit, Goodell provides a good introduction to the city, its current problems, and the people who live there – Grosse Pointe in particular.
Our protagonist is private detective James “Corky” Corcoran, hard-boiled, down-and-out, and a loser in romance. The women he loves get killed, marry someone else, or involve him in life threatening danger. Corcoran is almost a Grosse Pointer but couldn’t quite fit in enough to be liked by his elite contemporaries or to marry Deborah, a member of an aristocratic Grosse Pointe family, whom he loved and who loved him. Among his best acquaintances while growing up in Grosse Pointe were the young members of the Wade family, true aristocrats: Justin, Jonathan, and Jessica, who drowns as a child. Justin becomes a major player in Detroit business, finance, and politics. Jonathan becomes a drug addict. Justin marries Deborah.
After he and Deborah part ways, Corcoran becomes a successful private detective until a divorce lawyer engages him to sort out the finances of Olly Jensen, husband of his client Sara. During this assignment a relationship develops between Sara and Corcoran, ending when he finds her murdered, a crime Corcoran is accused of committing. Although he’s cleared of the crime, Corcoran’s career plummets and he spends increasing amounts of time with his “friend” Jack Daniels. Ten years later Corcoran receives a late night call from Deborah. We learn who Corcoran’s friends really are and what happens. A lot does, including rebounds!
Goodell’s earlier novel Zenith Rising is a story about what’s happening in Detroit today and the people who are making, or causing, it to happen. I recommend it, too!